Add iPod to the new list of school supplies

With the advent of each new piece of technology, gadgets are bound to quickly find their way into the education system, making learning more accessible and fun for students. Televisions are now a must in every classroom, and a library is inconceivable without research computers and online card catalogs.

Many college campuses have begun to experiment with the latest big technology craze – the iPod – to see the potential it holds of being used in select courses.

“The iPod in my classes has transformed and utterly enlivened the way I use music in connection with other disciplines to foster critical thinking, speaking and writing skills in my students,” said Rob Viau on Viau is an English professor at Georgia College and State University who is using the iPod in Gothic Imagination, an interdisciplinary course he is teaching with another professor.

Now, the iPod, with its headphones dangling out of the ears of many college students, has found its way into the hands of kindergarteners – yes, kindergarteners.

In Carrolton, Texas, young students just beginning their journey into primary school are able to check out the expensive devices from their teachers to practice learning new vocabulary words.

To entrust such young children with expensive machinery may seem outrageous to some. However, today’s children are technology-savvy, as they interact with it at a younger age than any generation has before.

Technology and learning go hand in hand, as instructors are always looking for something to engage their students and get through to those who are hard to reach in a different way.

Yet technology has its downfalls. According to The Christian Science Monitor’s Web site,, “Some educators worry that through this perpetual connectivity iPods will actually encourage isolation.”

Whether that is true is debatable. If college students are isolated into their own little worlds from listening to their iPods, then the same thing could happen to the kindergarteners who are being introduced to this technology much earlier in life.

To avoid this potential problem, teachers and administrators must be aware of it and not put so much reliance on the iPod for course activities, but rather, use it as a supplement.

This over reliance on technology has happened with computers: As more and more professors are putting their course materials online, less and less students are deciding not to come to class.

As long as people are aware that the iPod is a piece of technology and has the potential to be manipulated, it can surely be used for good in the classroom, making the learning process a bit more convenient and innovative.